Thirty-one students from Barry Comprehensive attended the exciting Hay Literary Festival on Friday 27th May – none were disappointed! The authors were inspiring and the setting beautiful. The students were enthusiastic and a credit to the school; many bought lots of new books and all enjoyed getting their books signed by the authors whilst asking questions and complimenting the authors on their presentations.
Matt Dickinson kicked it all off, inspiring the youngsters to climb Mount Everest, showing some amazing photographs and video clips, whilst explaining how this experience fed into his books The Everest Files and North Face.
Juno Dawson (formerly James Dawson) was refreshingly honest, openly discussing not only being transgender but mental health issues, particularly in young people. She was funny and quirky and many of us rushed to buy her fiction novel All of the Above and the non-fiction novel Mind Your Head.
Frances Hardinge was excellent and a little quirky too, happily signing books after her talk and creating beautiful geese drawings in her recent novel The Lie Tree (brilliantly written and crafted).
Finally, the star of the show was Patrick Ness who had the crowd screaming and applauding at regular intervals. He was sharp and witty whilst being interviewed and suggested everyone should write, motivating his young audience and answering questions openly and honestly. His novels are unusual and he particularly enjoys including diversity, wanting all of his readers to associate with his characters regardless of race, creed, gender and sexuality. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is exceptional.
The day was awe inspiring and it was simply a delight to see so many young people genuinely enthusiastic about literature and reading. We can’t wait now until next year!